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Quarterly Report, Oct-Dec 2005

The following issues were reviewed and discussed by the Board during the January 29, 2006, Board Meeting:

  • Application of the Traditions to the issue of funding delegate expenses with Seventh Tradition money. The Board affirmed unanimously two points. First, the Board confirmed that funding delegates at the meeting level does affect FA as a whole, in a potentially detrimental way, and therefore WSI does have the authority to set policy on the issue without infringing on the Fourth Tradition protections of group autonomy. (The Traditions Review Committee confirmed this point.) Second, the Board agreed that WSI policy is confirmed as follows: that FA groups should not fund WSI delegate expenses with Seventh Tradition money. In order for FA groups to uphold the Fifth Tradition of reaching out to the newcomer, Seventh Tradition funds must be diverted into the meeting itself, rather than into business convention resources.

  • Conditional donations to WSI and other FA service entities. Over the fourth quarter, the WSB Chair received at her home address a letter from an anonymous source. This letter contained a money order made out to FA World Services, Inc., in the amount of $1,000. The donation was accompanied by an explanatory letter containing specific instructions for the use of the funds. The Board was troubled on two points. First, any communications made from the FA fellowship regarding World Service issues should be sent to the World Service Office in Malden, MA. Letters sent to the homes of World Service Board members are a break of those members’ anonymity, and an invasion of privacy. Secondly, the idea of conditional donations—especially for substantial amounts of money—was troubling as well. The Board engaged in lengthy discussion, which resulted in clear consensus that the practice of conditional donations was a potential violation of the Seventh Tradition. The Chair cited the Twelve and Twelve‘s discussion of the Seventh Tradition, which contains the following passage:

Compared to this prospect, the ten thousand dollars under consideration wasn’t much, but like the alcoholic’s first drink it would, if taken, inevitably set up a disastrous chain reaction. Where would that land us? Whoever pays the piper is apt to call the tune, and if the AA Foundation obtained money from outside sources, its trustees might be tempted to run things without reference to the wishes of AA as a whole.

(Twelve and Twelve, p. 164, emphasis added)

Although the $1,000 in question seems not to have come from an outside source, the obligatory relationship set up by the donation earmarked for specific purposes runs the risk of the same “disastrous chain reaction” that the Twelve and Twelve warns against. We elect the World Service Board primarily for their judgment, and the Twelve Concepts establishes that the financial matters of the FA fellowship are to be entrusted to their care. Based on the words of the Twelve Traditions, and the Twelve Concepts of FA passed at the 2005 Business Convention, the Board confirmed a new WSI policy for conditional donations to WSI:

FA World Services, Inc., shall decline any donations—including those from any anonymous sources—that require the donation be used for a specific purpose specified by the donor. All such donations shall be returned to the donor with a copy of this policy in an explanatory letter.

The Board determined that the WSO shall return the $1,000 donation to the post office box from which the letter containing the donation was sent, along with a copy of this Board Report. The Board would like to recommend to this very generous donor that the $1,000 be donated to WSI without stipulations for its use, or alternatively, that the money be donated to a local intergroup, chapter, or FA group.

  • FA conference calls. The Board next considered the issue of FA telephone conference calls that are currently being conducted, three nights a week, without World Service Board review, input, approval, or guidance. Given the fact that these calls are clearly affecting FA as a whole, as well as a substantial number of newcomers, the Board decided to establish an ad hoc committee to find out more about the practice, and to determine ways to enhance the experience for participants by bringing the calls into conformity with the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts of FA, and by bringing a potential group of long-term abstinent members of FA into the project on a committed basis. That committee will be meeting over the next quarter, will propose a plan for the project to the Board by April 1. After Board review the proposal will be presented to the current telephone conference call coordinators, who shall also be contacted during the development of the project.

In addition, some members of the Board noted that the website publishing information about these calls uses the FA name without WSB review, without the FA logo, and most significantly, that the content of the website is violating Tradition in a number of ways, including publishing information about AWOLs on the site. The Board will contact the telephone conference call coordinators and the webmaster regarding these issues, over the next quarter.

  • Twelve Concepts Committee to be made permanent. The Board decided after postmeeting discussion via email that the ad hoc committee for the development and establishment of the Twelve Concepts of FA should be made a permanent standing committee of the WSB. The committee will be a responsive committee in the same capacity as the Twelve Traditions Committee. The Board has not yet determined requirements for the committee chair, or whether the committee will require a chair separate from the executive board (e.g., the Vice Chair may serve in this capacity as part of his or her role as VC), but will decide these issues prior to the Convention Committee mailing regarding nominations for the World Service Board.

Committee Reports

The WSI committee reports for the fourth quarter of 2005 are listed below. If you have any questions about any of the committees’ activities, please contact the respective committee chair. 

theconnection Committee Report, Joanna A., Chair

  • This quarter we have:
    • Continued to develop a magazine website that will be connected to the FA website which will contain “snippets” from the magazine (not the entire content) and will allow members to submit articles and subscribe to the magazine on line. The website will be a long-term project, with expected “air date” post-Convention 2006.
    • Published a compilation of two volumes (year one and year two) of back issues of theconnection magazine. The compilations are entitled theconnection Collections, Years One and Two. Order forms are available, and the cost is $15 per volume or $28 for both. They are great for individuals, but also can also be used to lead a magazine meeting!
    • Had a special holiday issue in December/January
    • Continued to discuss as a committee how to improve on the quantity and quality of submissions
  • In the near future we will be sending out a letter to WSI reps at meetings along with a tent card to put on the literature table to encourage new submissions
  • Our committee has significantly increased in membership and we have several new team leaders who are soliciting submissions from members, but we still need much more participation. Please encourage your friends/sponsees to write!
  • We are aware that due to some database problems at the FA Office, several issues were sent out late, and as a result there has been some confusion over how many issues people should have received. There have been several reports made to the WSI office that people haven’t received their issues. The database issues have been addressed by the WSO Chair and secretary, and no further problems with subscriptions are expected.
  • Last but not least, I will not be at the business convention this year because I am four months pregnant and due to deliver, God willing, on or near June 20. Jacquie from California will be leading the first meeting in my place – and since my term is up, the new chair will lead the second meeting. I will miss you!

Public Information Report, Anne S., Chair

[Note: The quarterly WSB report dated January 16, 2006, inadvertently left out the Q3 2005 Public Information committee’s report, so it is included immediately below. The Q4 2005 report follows directly below.]

Public Information Committee Report

August – October, 2005
Anne S, Chairperson

MediaWatch Sub-Committee

  • The sub-committee invited ten FA members to respond to a USA Today request for personal stories of addiction.
  • The sub-committee wrote a letter to send to media outlets when a member lets the committee know of a story on food addiction or addiction in general. It is a brief description of FA from the PI Committee meant to inform the author or producer about FA and giving our website and phone number. This letter will present a clear, professional, non-sensational face for FA to the media and will replace the personal stories previously sent. This will help us stay within the Traditions of nonpromotion and not having one person’s story represent the face of FA.

Census Sub-Committee

  • The results of the 2005 FA survey were completed.  The results will be published in the FAConnection and perhaps distributed with the WSI quarterly report.

Documents Repository Sub-Committee

  • www.fadocs.org transitioned to a new web host at the same time the foodaddicts.org site transitioned. The process of unifying all documents on both sites as far as content and new WSI vs. GSO terminology is in progress.

Foodaddicts.org Website  

  • Updated language on the "What is FA?" page to give a more polished, professional and grammatical appearance to the site. In the process of working with the webmaster to change to “new terminology” on this site.
  • Updated the personal stories on the home page and set up a system to coordinate with the Connection committee to use brief story excerpts on the home page.

Public Information Kit

  • Replaced PI Kit on both web sites with the new terminology version

Old Business

  • National Weight Control Registry.  This resource, brought to our attention by a member at the 2005 convention, is used by many media outlets for statistical data. The NWCR has not expressed an interest in our census data but we can register individually. They told one of our members who investigated that they do not want hundreds registering. Also, they would prefer info from minorities. There is no guarantee of anonymity, since they request first and last names.

New Business

  • Selectiong a subcommittee to exampine the pros and cons of producing a Video Public Service Announcement. This PSA potentially would be distributed to television stations to air during their public service slots. The subcommittee will begin by studying: How to/Can we maintain Traditions, What do we want this PSA to accomplish, How AA handles this, cost, methods.

Public Information Committee Q4 2005 Report

MediaWatch Sub-Committee

  • The sub-committee email is working once again (mediawatch@foodaddicts.org). Four notices of food addiction-related items in the media have been received and two have been responded to so far.

Foodaddicts.org Website and Documents Repository Website

  • A teleconference with the Office chairperson and the Webmaster was held to discuss the future direction of both websites. Several PI members suggested ideas for upgrades, such as moderated email lists, which were discussed at the meeting.
  • A Western Area Intergroup (WAI) member will retain access to fadocs.org to make monthly updates to the documents stored on the site, such as meeting lists and trifolds. 80% of WAI documents on the fadocs site are updated monthly. We are also seeking an NEI member who has the skills to do updates to the site and would like to join the PI committee. Hopefully, this member’s activity would increase NEI awareness of fadocs.org and increase postings of service documents from NEI.
  • We submitted four newspaper articles about FA and food addiction for Traditions Committee review for possible posting to a new “For the Press” section of the updated website.
  • An interview with three long-standing FA members from New England was conducted by the Special Projects Director for CBS News in Boston. The air date is Friday, March 3, 2006, at 11pm. The piece is expected to be released to CBS affiliates around the country after the Boston segment is aired.

Medical Conference Sub-Committee

  • Making plans to attend the National Diabetic Educators’ Association annual convention in LA in August 2006:
  • Drafting text for a large tri-fold display. When that is board-approved, we will contract for and purchase a professional display to be used at such medical and other professional conventions.
  • Preparing “script” or plan of why we are there and how and what to present in order to most accurately portray FA.
  • Beginning to “recruit” members to be present at the booth during the table. Will have a teleconference to educate those members on the above plan and the applicable traditions.

Several new ideas are coming to the committee: NEI wants to do a Powerpoint presentation to medical professionals; there have been a few inquiries for and from teenagers; the Maine chapter Public Information Committee has made a number of inquiries; and a member asked whether FA would be participating in the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and were told FA was not participating. Also, the committee chair will submit a projected budget to attend a convention in Los Angeles that wasn’t included in the committee’s original budget. The committee will try to hold down costs by having FA members from the local area staff the table.

Convention Committee Report, Adrienne C., Chair

This quarter much time was devoted to locating and securing a place for the 2007 Non-Business Convention, completing the Convention Report, continued work on the Convention Manual, and of course continued work on the upcoming 2006 Business Convention, to be held at the Sheraton Ferncroft Resort in Danvers, Massachusetts, June 23-25, 2006.

Our first 2006 Business Convention mailing took place in December and it included

  1. Registration Form (please note Registration deadline of April 15, 2006)
  2. Tentative Convention Schedule
  3. Transportation information
  4. Announcement of Board Applications

Look for our next mailing the first week of February that will include an explanation of motion making process, motion submission forms, and delegate registration forms. This packet will also contain the 2005 Convention Report.

We are happy to announce that we have found a beautiful location for the 2007 Non-Business Convention, to be held at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego, California on October 5, 6, and 7, 2007. More information will be forthcoming.

And finally, continued work on the Business Convention Manual is still in progress. Please note that the postmark deadline for submission of new business motions to be heard at the June convention is February 28.

Office Committee Report, Jennifer N., Chair

  • The office has a new email! Although the email has been changed from famail@aol.com to fa@foodaddicts.org, WSO will maintain both until literature, website, and external materials are all updated. Intergroup and Chapters: please include in your monthly reports this new email! When the volume begins to tail off for famail@aol.com, we will switch solely to fa@foodaddicts.org.
  • Transferred FaDocs to new web-hosting platform with Hitchcock Creations, Nora LaVelle continues to manage. Looking at ways to incorporate into the main site at foodaddicts.org.
  • Beginning to set up the foundation and structure for managing Convention responsibilities- outsourcing mailing but updating Access and looking at ways to utilize website for on-line registration.

Bylaws Committee, Sue G., Chair

The By-Laws, Policies and Procedures, and the Continuing Effect Motions were updated with the new terminology this quarter. The motions that were passed at the 2006 Business Convention were also added.

Chapter Support Committee, George M., Chair

Chapter Forum Evaluation- We are in the process of evaluating the November Forum. Evaluations have been sent to all the participants who registered. If you haven’t gotten an evaluation and you want one, please contact Roberta.

Scribing Minutes from November Chapter Forum- Our first draft is done. They have been sent to all the speakers who participated for further editing. The speakers have been asked to return them to Paul within several weeks. At that point they will be available to everyone.

Best Practices News Flash- We have received some good practices for our second edition. If you have any best practices please send them to Anne S..

Chapter Forum at the Convention in June- The total committee and the subcommittee, chaired by Fran of Boston, is very busy planning the event, which will take place from 2:00 to 4:15 on Friday, June 23, 2006. Everyone is welcome, but it will be of special interest to chapter and intergroup and WSI officers, committee chairs, and all those who wish to learn more about chapter organization and who wish to grow in their leadership and administrative skills. This is the first afternoon of the Convention, so if you wish to participate—and we hope you will—plan your travel arrangements accordingly. The sub-committee consists of Fran of MA ,Chair, Sue G. of FL, Misch of FL, Vicky of MI, Mary of MI, Nancy of FL, Bob of WV, Regina of MA, Margaret of WV, and George of MA.

Chapter Intergroup Liaison position- We have two members serving in that position. Roberta from Maine and Margaret C. from upstate NY.

Policies and Procedures Subcommittee- The Committee has worked up the first draft which is now being polished by the subcommittee. The members of that subcommittee are Dona of Michigan, Misch of Florida, and Patty of Maine. It will be finished and sent to Sue G., WSI Bylaws Chair, so that it can be put forward as a motion at the 2006 June Convention.

Literature Committee, Anne B., Chair

Suggested Agenda Item

A request has come from a member of the Literature Committee to re-visit the FA tools and consider re-writing them. The proposal, including suggestions for rewriting, has been submitted to the WSB Chair, Susan L. The issue arose while reviewing content to include in the FA book.

New Business: Executive Summary

New Literature Committee work since the last Board meeting includes:

  • Received feedback from our professional book project manager that the set of stories we had for the book were not sufficiently diverse and detailed.
  • At the suggestion of the book project manager, compiled a list of FA members whose stories, if included in the book, would add diversity to the set of stories.
  • Developed a set of writing guidelines to help those writing stories for the FA book submit stories that are of adequate quality for the book.
  • Developed two letters asking members to contribute their story for the FA book, underscoring the great need of the book for more diverse stories (one letter was tailored for men).
  • Contacted approximately 80 potential writers on the solicitation list by telephone to ask for story writing; followed up by sending the letter and guidelines via email; and followed up with a phone call.
  • The committee will accept stories until Jan. 31st.

The committee has also continued the ongoing activities of:

  • Reviewing and cataloguing the stories created to date.
  • Gathering feedback about literature pieces for their next update.

Teens & Twenties Committee, Jean F., Chair

The Teens and Twenties committee has gathered names and contact information for staff at several national educational and health organizations in order to provide information on the existence and function of FA. We will send them each a letter, accompanied by two pamphlets and a worldwide meeting list. We hope to deliver two or more information sessions within the next twelve months.

We also rewrote the letter to the professional to target professionals working with young people, which are to be posted on the fadocs.org website. We are in the preliminary planning stages for creating a Teens and Twenties PI Kit.

Twelfth Step Committee, Jamie M., Chair

Update about the newsletter “Gratitude in Action”:

The winter issue was produced and that the committee was now working on the summer issue. In response to a question, the chair mentioned that the autumn issue didn’t get done due to a variety of circumstances, including several members leaving the committee, but mostly came down to just having too much to do with too little time.

Traditions Review Committee, Kesaya N., Chair

The committee continues to meet as before, convening via telephone conference call once per month, unless there were no issues to discuss. Diane (NY) has resigned and I have approached several FA members to ask them to apply for membership on the committee. At one meeting, we discussed the possibility of including term limits for members in our policies and procedures statement. We expect to rewrite the policies and procedures at some point.

The chair announced that one committee member resigned and that she is looking for two new members so that a quorum can be ensured. For now, a quorum is happening but it has been challenging.

In the past quarter, the following issues were discussed:

October 30, 2005

Issue: An FA member in Michigan contacted Kesaya because she and others from several meetings wanted to organize an entire weekend devoted to FA activities – basically, a weekend retreat. She wondered if this plan conflicted with any Traditions.

Response: The committee agreed that groups have the autonomy to plan such retreats if they wish, but wanted to remind the planners that no one should be presented as any kind of expert. We also remembered and thought it relevant to mention that the intensity of such weekends and the let down afterwards can be dangerous to addicts such as ourselves.

Issue: The WSB chair forwarded a question regarding clothing swaps. Some meetings are holding such swaps before or after meetings and there is concern that this is interfering with the meetings. One committee member living in an area where such swaps are common has observed that members come to meetings late because they are looking at clothes.

Response: The committee agreed that because our primary purpose is recovery from food addiction, the planning of clothing swaps does not belong on business meeting agendas and they should not be announced from the front of the room. We recognized the importance and usefulness of sharing clothes, however, and thought that this could be done individually or in ways that do not disrupt or in any way distract from meetings (as is the case elsewhere, apparently).

Issue: Attraction versus promotion in press releases.

Response: The committee has been discussing sample press releases sent by a member of the Public Information Committee of the Western Area Intergroup. The committee is impressed with the work being done but was concerned about the tone and the hook used to elicit reporter interest (weight loss, bathing suit season, Halloween). It was suggested that the AA website offered examples that might be helpful. On that site, press releases report on actual events, and the tone is descriptive (third person, not second person).

Issue: “For the Media” section on the FA website. The WSB chair asked the committee to discuss the content that would be appropriate for such a section of the website.

Response: The committee noted the discussion above and encouraged the development of such a website.

December 4, 2005

Issue: The WSB chair asked us to return to the question of the funding of World Service delegates.

Response: Committee members agreed that Traditions One and Four are relevant. When individual meetings fund delegates, FA unity can be negatively affected. Discord is a definite possibility and, in fact, has been observed in such cases. The question should not be a matter for group autonomy because the welfare of the whole is affected. We noted that AA has developed a clear policy regarding the funding of delegates (through areas and the General Service Board – not through individual meetings) and that the WSB has repeatedly assured groups that if intergroups and chapters do not have sufficient funding, help is available at the World Service level. Because FA is young, a widely recognized and accepted policy regarding the funding of delegates has not been established, but the establishment of a clear policy would not, per se, be against any Tradition, we believe.

December 11, 2005

Issue: Should telephone conference calls be recognized as FA meetings? A member wishes to bring to the next World Service Convention a motion defining telephone conference calls as FA meetings. She asked the committee to discuss the issue again and to explain which – if any – Traditions would conflict with this motion.

Response: The committee spent an entire session on the discussion of this issue. Kesaya asked the committee to leave aside the practices of AA or NA as determining factors in our thinking. Because our addiction and solution are different, we do not use AA and NA experience as precedents that bind us.

One member presented a discussion of the many Traditions that, in her view, support the definition of telephone conference calls as meetings. She primarily focused on the need for such in order to carry the message to those who are isolated. Kesaya reminded everyone that there may indeed be Traditions in support of such a practice, but the key question is whether there are any that would guide us against it.

In the discussion that followed four members brought up concerns about anonymity. In a live meeting, members know who is present and can choose to speak or not. Over the phone, it is not possible to know who is present. Anyone (a reporter, a voyeur) could dial in. The meeting could also be taped. There was more and stronger concern expressed about whether or not telephone “meetings” would support strong abstinence and therefore support our common welfare. All but one committee member expressed the view that phone meetings would negatively affect individual abstinence and meetings, thereby affecting FA as a whole and our common welfare. Reasons given:

  • Food addiction is a disease of isolation. Live meetings break isolation. There is no hiding. We are greeted and known. Newcomers on a telephone call are invisible.
  • Newcomers gain hope simply by seeing someone, and they are guaranteed at least one and a half hours of freedom from eating – a start on abstinence.
  • Because we isolate, some people tend to choose the telephone over live meetings. One member noted that although there is a live AWOL in her area, all but a small handful of people have chosen a telephone AWOL instead. There is also a tendency for members to choose telephone conference calls over live FA meetings. This negatively affects individual abstinence and the individual meetings in that area.

  • FA members who have been alone have, like the early AAs, needed meetings and have found ways to start them. We can use sponsorship, telephone calls, conference calls themselves, The Connection, and past history and experience to encourage those who are alone to start meetings. That is how FA has spread (one among us started successful fellowships in three different states), and it is also how AA has spread. The committee felt that FA could support FA newcomers and FA growth within the channels of communication that we have and with the encouragement we can offer of the power that comes from our Higher Power.

Discussion ended with conversation about the role of the Traditions Committee. I noted that we are a sounding board, not a judicial body. In addition, the Concepts apply here. A member is free to bring forward a motion, through the right of participation. The WSB and intergroup chairs and committees also have the right of authority, with the freedom to decide whether they think a given question falls within the realm of their responsibilities and whether or not they think they should handle it.

Ad Hoc Committee for overseeing the New Terminology Changes, Carol C., Chair

The chair worked with Nora from California, who oversees the fadocs.org Website, and together they made all the appropriate changes. Also, the chair worked with Liz, the WSO webmaster, and together they made changes anywhere needed on the foodaddicts.org website, including all the documents and links etc. In addition, Sue G., WSI Bylaws Chair, worked diligently on all the corporate documents (i.e., the Bylaws, the Policies and Procedures manual, and the continuing effects motions manual), making all necessary changes. The WSB will review them prior to Convention 2006. Finally, the Chair has begun to review all the FA pamphlets and will contact the Literature committee to effect the changes in future production.

Ad hoc Twelve Concepts Committee, Susan L., Chair

The Twelve Concepts Committee met on January 11, 2006 and discussed the proposed revisions submitted by a member of the FA fellowship. Consensus of the committee was to leave all Twelve Concepts intact except for some wordsmithing proposed in the revisions. Not all of the proposed revisions were accepted. A motion proposing that the Twelve Concepts of FA be permanently adopted by the FA Conference at the 2006 WSI Business Convention, will be submitted to the fellowship at the appropriate time this spring.

The committee would also like to propose that the Twelve Concepts Committee be made a permanent standing committee of the WSB, in a responsive capacity (i.e., would act only in response to issues raised by the fellowship or the WSB, similar to the Traditions Review Committee).